Dentistry is an interesting science. People do not often have positive thoughts about visiting a dentist, but visits are very important for maintaining good oral health. When taking care of your teeth and gums, you have the option of choosing a traditional dentist or a holistic dentist. Your experiences have most likely been with a traditional dentist, but the practice of holistic dentistry is becoming increasingly popular as people discover the concept of a holistic approach to healing the body. Here is a quick introduction to holistic dentistry.
What is Holistic Dentistry?
You hear the word “holistic” quite a bit these days. Holistic generally means “the whole” body. Holistic dentistry focuses on your entire physical and emotional health. A holistic dentist may use natural therapies or treatments to care, treat, diagnose or prevent oral diseases, cavities, etc. The idea of holistic dentistry was founded in 1978 by a group of dentists. The Holistic Dental Association was formed. Per the Holistic Dental Association website, the mission is to improve one’s overall health through dentistry. Note that the holistic approach to dentistry includes some traditional practices and use of science. There is currently a movement to inform the public on the risk factors of traditional dentistry and how to treat the underlying causes of oral diseases.
Differences Between Holistic and Traditional Dentistry
Holistic dentists focus on your whole body, not just the gums and teeth. What is meant by that is Holistic dentists don’t use materials that can adversely affect the body, and conversely they understand how the body can affect the oral health. Holistic dentistry considers modern science and knowledge of traditional and natural healing. The practice of holistic dentistry includes preventative care that emphasizes healthy nutritional choices, avoiding certain toxins, and ridding your body of damaging compounds. Many holistic dentists are opposed to using fluoride because they believe it is detrimental to your overall health. They are also opposed to using amalgam, nickel, or any metal to fill cavities. These metals are considered toxic and have adverse effects on your health. Holistic dentistry promotes healthy teeth and gums as a gateway to overall good health.
Relationship Between Oral Health and Overall Health
Science has proven that oral health affects your overall health. Many illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and chronic diseases have been linked to oral health problems. Did you know that your oral cavity is the primary opportunity for infections to enter the bloodstream? Even today, people are becoming fatally ill from dental infections. Most do not know the harmful effects of toxins in the teeth. These toxins are overlooked as causes of chronic illnesses and diseases. Holistic dentists believe that procedures like root canals or gum cleanings can push bacteria into your bloodstream. They also believe that exposure to mercury fillings can cause physical damage and illness and should be removed. The removal or detox of toxins from the body is important to your overall health.
Holistic dentists believe in removing toxins from your body. Some suggestions are to remove amalgam fillings using stringent safety protocols from teeth because exposure to mercury can lead to damage of the body’s central nervous system. Fillings should be replaced with non-toxic materials (BPA free). Holistic dentists use natural anti-bacterial products to lessen the risk of harmful bacteria during root canals. They also believe that fluoride does not necessarily prevent tooth decay and is harmful to your health. A suggestion is to filter your drinking water to avoid fluoride and heavy metals. The holistic approach to dentistry also promotes eating healthy and seeking nutritional foods that not only support oral health but rather the whole body.
How to Find a Holistic Dentist
If you are looking for a non-traditional approach to dentistry, you can find more information through the Holistic Dental Association. Holistic dentists and members of the association are listed on their website, www.holisticdental.org. It also provides additional information and history around the topic of holistic dentistry and how it differs from traditional dentistry. When choosing a dentist, always check references and reviews to ensure you will receive the best care and service possible. Whether using a traditional or holistic dentist, do not be afraid to advocate and ask questions about what materials are used in their fillings, any dental procedure, or his/her philosophy of practice.